Who says only grown-ups can get a massage?

April 29, 2016 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

Is it time for my massage yet? While this question may resonate with many moms, if your baby could talk, this is what she may ask.

We have known for some time that skin-to-skin contact with babies is important for their development. Infant massage is another extension of this.

Researchers are finding that infant massage has potential benefits for babies, particular premature infants. In one study, massage therapy administered to stable pre-term infants was associated with more daily weight gain. In another study, pre-term infants showed reduced stress behaviors after five days of massage therapy.

Here are some more potential benefits of infant massage:

  • Helps calm your baby and reduces crying
  • Helps your baby relax and sleep better
  • Helps relieve tension or emotional distress
  • Improves general well-being

Parents benefit too. Infant massage can help you learn to understand and respond to your baby’s cues. In turn, you may feel more confident in your parenting and less stressed. It also promotes bonding and attachment between you and your baby, which is good for the both of you. If nothing else, infant massage is a great way to unwind and relax with your baby.

You can build massage into your baby’s daily schedule. Some parents make it part of the bedtime routine. The key is to pay attention to your baby’s mood and learn what works for you both. If your baby has any underlying health issues, talk to your pediatrician before trying infant massage.

Then, try these tips to get started:

  • Start when your baby is in a quiet, alert state, not immediately after a feeding
  • Go to a warm, quiet place
  • Sit comfortably and position your baby on a blanket in front of you
  • Undress your baby down to her diaper
  • If you use oil, select one that's odorless and test it first on a small area of your baby’s skin
  • Start out with a gentle stroke from her head to her toes
  • Make your strokes gentle but firm, and not ticklish
  • If she responds well, gently massage her body section by section
  • During the massage, talk to your baby, sing or tell a story
  • Follow your baby’s cues – if she appears restless or unhappy, stop and try again later

Once you get into a routine, you may just discover the soothing effects of massage on your baby and you.

Get more tips for how to massage your baby.

Looking for an infant massage class? Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness at Seven Bridges in Woodridge is offering 2-hour sessions to teach hands-on techniques for parents and infants age 3 weeks to 9 months old. For more information, call Lara Aprati, spa manager, at 630-646-7911 or register online.

Have you tried infant massage? Tell us what you think about it!

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